strapping kayaks to ladder rack

eventually I will purchase yakima racks for my wifes honda pilot, but we are camping this weekend and I need to strap our malibu 2 and loon 11’ kayaks to the ladder racks on my ford cargo van. any tips or suggestions are appreciated. do I just use a ratchet strap right over them?

…pool noodles and wrap them around the steel tubing then wrap a couple strips of electrical tape around the noodles to keep them on. I would run a bow and stern line as well, not just across them.

Don’t ratchet the yaks down to tightly, it might damage them.

ratchet straps
Ratchet straps are ok for cargo, can crush kayaks though and have many parts that can and occasionally do, fail. I’d look at getting kayak/canoe straps for this use, they are simple and work and are relatively cheap.

Bill H.

what kind of straps do you recomend? I have plenty of quality cam buckle straps from my dirt bikes. with the van the kayaks won’t be hanging over the front window so I don’t know how well I can tie them off in the front? should I space the ladder racks further appart?

also with the mailbu I can tie off thru the scupper holes, but what do i use on the loon?



I have used these for many years.

Do not loosen,outstanding product.Available at many outfitters.

Don’t use scupper holes
as a main tie-off area. They just aren’t made for that and a lot of stress can cause leaks in your scupper holes. I occasionally put a bike lock through them for security and to have a last ditch way of keeping my boat secured, but it’s setup so there is no stress on the scuppers during normal transporting of the boat.


tie downs
ok, those tie downs look just like my dirt bike tie downs (cam buckle) of which I have plenty of quality long ones.

I can see that if I tie over the loon just infront of the cockpit opening and behind it, it will have nowhere to move, but the mailbu doesn’t have that “ridge” to keep the straps in place, maybe I’m worrying about this too much being a newbie

Try it out
use your straps and see if you can move the boat back and forth by pulling and pushing. If you hand tighten those cam buckles, you should get enough friction ther to keep it in place. If it’s a long boat, add bow and stern tie downs for additional security, especially if you’re traveling very far or at highway speeds.


shouldn’t be a problem
because the kayak tapers at both ends, once you tighten the straps it can’t go any where. the front strap won’t let it go forward and the rear strap won’t let it go backwards. also, the friction from tightening them should be enough to keep the kayak in place, even if it didn’t taper.

wrap straps
I have found that if I use a long enough strap so that I can wrap around the kayak twice, One wrap around the kayak and forward or rearward of the bar about 18 inches and then back to the bar the taper of the kayak will cause the strap to tighten if the kayak tries to slide forward or backward. This technique eliminates the need of bow and stern lines. Try it. Remember some people like to wear both suspenders and a belt.